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AIBU to be annoyed at doctors receptionist?

(207 Posts)
ihatetheoneshow Mon 19-Sep-16 19:11:14

NC because this may out me (I've whinged a lot about this to various friends today)

Called doctors surgery this morning to get an appointment for 6 month old. Obviously wanted one for today so was calling between 8 and 9 am.

Eventually, after an hour on hold (it's a busy surgery so not overly bothered about that), receptionist answers asking how she can help. Conversation went like this:

R: how can I help?
Me: id like an appointment for today please.
R: we only have emergency appts. Is it really an emergency?
Me: yes it's for my 6 month old.
R: okay. (Takes DDs name) and what is wrong with her?

This is where I got annoyed, as that's the reason I'm seeing a doctor. I shouldn't have to list symptoms to the receptionist. She asked with such a patronising tone that I almost snapped back at her that is was the doctors business not hers. However, that is unreasonable so I answered politely whilst seething quietly.

I probably ABU, is it standard practice now for receptionists to ask why you are seeing a doctor? Does it help them decide if it is an emergency? I just don't get why she needed to know.

KateSpade Mon 19-Sep-16 19:15:19

Standard Practice.

A receptionist refused to give me an appointment as she didn't seem it was an emergency 'in her opinion' however wouldn't let me book an appointment either...

I've also had a receptionist refuse me a prescription,

So frustrating!

humblesims Mon 19-Sep-16 19:15:57

it is standard practice. it just gives the GP a heads up on what the problem is. you dont have to go into detail. Just a rough idea.

Buzzardbird Mon 19-Sep-16 19:18:54

Doctor's receptionists appear to get a tough time for doing their job.

CrohnicallyAspie Mon 19-Sep-16 19:18:57

I have been asked before and been offered an alternative to coming into the surgery (eg telephone appointment, nurse appointment, dropping off a urine sample without seeing dr first, going straight to hospital...)

SheldonsSpot Mon 19-Sep-16 19:21:40

I find "I'd rather discuss that with the doctor thanks" usually suffices.

TaliDiNozzo Mon 19-Sep-16 19:22:38

I think YABU. They can give the doctor some idea of what the appointment is needed for, and perhaps gauge whether an emergency appointment is needed or not.

Doctor's receptionists are really unfairly complained about sometimes, but on the flip side of this there are some that are jobsworths.

quicklydecides Mon 19-Sep-16 19:24:21

For God sake, was it sniffles? Teething? A temperature?
Or a wild and crazy rash and he couldn't breathe?

One of those is an emergency, the other isn't.

So that's why the receptionist asked.

HeadsDownThumbsUpEveryone Mon 19-Sep-16 19:25:25

*Doctor's receptionists appear to get a tough time for doing their job.

But that's not the job of a Receptionist, they are not there to triage patients. If the Op thought it was an emergercy why should she have to justify that to the Receptionist?

Comejointhemurder Mon 19-Sep-16 19:25:37

Most surgeries local to me have an automated message on the 'phone saying the receptionist will ask why you want an appointment; to be able to triage callers.

Standard practice.

ThePinkOcelot Mon 19-Sep-16 19:26:31

It's their job?!! Do you really think the receptionist gives a shit about what is wrong with your dd?! Get a grip!

JellyBelli Mon 19-Sep-16 19:27:36

I realise its annoying but its the result of the stupid booking system combined with a long list of the people before you that lied so they could get an appointment the same day.

toboldlygo Mon 19-Sep-16 19:28:17

It may help you to be dealt with sooner - rather than an emergency appointment it may be more appropriate to see a nurse, have a telephone triage call, see a pharmacist, be referred elsewhere, arrange a urine sample or blood test etc. It also gives them some idea of how long the appointment may take to help with the rest of the day's bookings.

Having done both NHS and veterinary reception work I've always found it odd that people won't tell the doctor's receptionist what the problem is but can be on the phone for ten minutes or more merrily listing a pet's symptoms. grin

oldlaundbooth Mon 19-Sep-16 19:28:46

She's a Receptionist.

She's paid to transmit information, not diagnose!

Also, I'm sure this has been done/said before, people can actually choose to not tell the receptionist the truth in order to get an appointment, so it's all a bit bloody irrelevant anyway.

Spam88 Mon 19-Sep-16 19:30:03

It's standard practice if you're asking for an emergency appointment, so they can decide if it's an emergency... If you really don't want to tell the receptionist then you can say you'd rather tell the doctor and they'll arrange for the doctor to call you back, but that's obviously making things more difficult for everyone including yourself.

SoupDragon Mon 19-Sep-16 19:30:09

But that's not the job of a Receptionist, they are not there to triage patients.

How do you know?

If the Op thought it was an emergercy why should she have to justify that to the Receptionist?

Because there may be better, more appropriate, options suck as a telephone consultation or an appointment with the Nurse. There are only so many appointments to go round.

Spam88 Mon 19-Sep-16 19:30:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hippoinamudhole Mon 19-Sep-16 19:30:24

At our surgery they take a message and a doctor calls. They then decide whether it is an emergency

SoupDragon Mon 19-Sep-16 19:30:32

Such. Not suck.

TaliZorahVasNormandy Mon 19-Sep-16 19:31:06

At work, the doctors want us to ask.We dont need a long story, we just need to know the symptoms, so if a nurse can deal with it, then it keeps gp appts available for things that only a gp can deal with. Also need to know if its something that needs dealing with that day or can it wait.

Believe me, we dont ask in the interests of being nosey. Thats what the doctors want us to do.

FluffyPineapple Mon 19-Sep-16 19:31:29

Your response would be the difference between advising you to call 999, slotting you in to see a GP during the day or waiting until the end of surgery. Sometimes mums regard teething or a cough as an "emergency which needs to be seen today". The receptionist was only doing her job. YABU

MiddleClassProblem Mon 19-Sep-16 19:32:03

YABU they ask you in case they can get you an appointment with a doctor with extra training in that field or in case the nurse can see you instead. You can say "personal reasons" as the code at our practice but it is standard.

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Mon 19-Sep-16 19:32:03

But WAS it actually an emergency? Being 6 months old doesn't automatically make it urgent. It could be a patch of eczema or an occasional cough.

HeadsDownThumbsUpEveryone Mon 19-Sep-16 19:32:27

*But that's not the job of a Receptionist, they are not there to triage patients.

How do you know?*

Errrrm not trying to be rude but I know this becasuse you need absoloutly no medical training to be a Receptionist at a Doctors surgery so therefore they are not able to determine what appointment would constitute as a medical emergency.

teainbed Mon 19-Sep-16 19:33:54

Because believe it or not some people believe 'we've run out of emollients' or 'we haven't received our paeds appointment' yet is justification to use an emergency slot. In which case the Dr can phone back and deal with it over the phone.

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